Alex P. Berg is mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and romance author, having penned over twenty-five novels since 2014. He writes stories with smart, funny, charismatic protagonists and snappy dialogue; stories overflowing with mystery, humor, and adventure; stories that'll leave you with a smile on your face and make you reach for the next one the instant you're done with the first. Visit him at

The Nyte Patrol by Alex P. Berg

After alienating her friends, getting benched by her coach, and nearly decapitating a teammate with a bat, college softball player Lexie Rodriguez's life feels like it can't get any worse.

Little does she know it's about to get a whole lot weirder.

When she answers an online help wanted ad, she never expects it to lead to the revelation that magic exists. She certainly never expects to experience it firsthand. But after teaming up with washed-up sorcerer Larry Stuttgart, sword master Dawn Blayde, werebear munitions expert Tank Johnson, and immortal zombie head-in-a-jar Bill, Lexie's about to discover what life is like on the supernatural side.

She's about to join THE NYTE PATROL.



  • •"Totally ridiculous, goofball fun. I thought it really hit its stride in the second half of the book with some great character moments and funny lines."

    – Amazon review
  • •"I loved the concept of this marvelously ridiculous romp. Larry reminded me of a bumbling Dr. Who. I liked that there was a lot of good natured poking fun at paranormal romance."

    – Amazon review
  • •"It's absolutely freaking rudunckulous… and I love it!"

    – Amazon review



I left the motor on my Suburban running as I pulled up to the address on West 21st Street. I wasn't sure exactly what I expected, but a run-down shack painted four different colors wasn't it. Boards covered the front door as well as the windows, and cracks laced the mortar. An industrious vandal had painted "Keep Austin Weird" on the plywood, and someone else had added "Politicos can suck it!" alongside a crude depiction of a phallus. Strangely enough, someone had recently mowed the lawn—or weeds, really. I pulled up my phone to make sure I had the right place. Unfortunately, I did.

Across the street, a dilapidated co-op blocked the setting sun. Cinderblocks and cigarette butts littered the dirt in front of the sliding glass apartment doors. Someone had scrawled graffiti across the front of those, too, but of a less vulgar sort. At least the housing complex next door didn't resemble a crackhouse.

I slipped a can of mace from my glove box into my letter jacket's pocket. Any normal person would've gunned the engine and gotten the hell out of dodge, but as my friends and family always joked, I suffered from congenital audacity. It was a way of saying I was headstrong and reckless. I'd always contested the former, which in a way proved them right, but there was no doubting the latter. Not after today.

With vivid memories of practice in my head, I killed the ignition and hopped out of the truck. Every step I took went against my better judgement, but I approached the shack regardless. Perhaps the brand new twenty-story condo building fifty feet away on Rio Grand gave me confidence. I couldn't imagine anyone would try to rape me in broad daylight, but should anyone lay a finger on me, one scream would attract a half-dozen well-intentioned hipsters armed with chihuahuas and righteous indignation. Nonetheless, I kept a hand on the mace, and I longed for my softball bat, unwieldy as it might be for self-defense.

The online ad had said to head to the back. I followed the cracked paving stones around the side of the house, avoiding the discarded lawn furniture, and stopped at a weathered door with peeling paint. A doorbell with a speaker unit hung to the right of the jam—literally, hung. Exposed wires kept it in place, and a blackened smudge darkened three-quarters of the speaker panel. It looked like it might've been struck by lightning at some point, yet a laminated sign taped to the door obstinately read 'Please use doorbell.'

I shook my head, wondering why I'd bothered coming, but after reminding myself that it might be this or waiting tables while wearing a tight shirt and a fake smile, I pressed my finger against the button.

I didn't hear a chime, but a few seconds later, the box squawked. "Hello? Who is it?"

"Uh… the name's Lexie. I'm here about the Craigslist ad."

The voice had a gruff quality to it even after accounting for the crackle of the dying speaker. "The Craigslist ad?"

"That's right. It said I should ask for Dawn."

The speaker sparked, and a tiny puff of smoke drifted out of the cavity. "Oh. Right. Give me a sec."

My grip on the mace tightened as footsteps approached the door. I told myself if I heard the rattle of more than three deadbolts and latches, I'd run and send my application to Pluckers instead, but before I could move, the handle twisted and the door swung open.

The man who stood there was maybe six feet tall and broad in the shoulders, but a looker he definitely wasn't. Wavy unwashed brown hair fell to his jaw, brushing against his three-day old beard bristle. For some incomprehensible reason, he wore a heavy knee-length leather duster and a matching hat that would've made Indiana Jones proud. Never mind that he was indoors and it was roughly seventy degrees outside. He scanned me with dark eyes. "You're Lexie?"

I didn't let go of the mace. "Yeah."

He shrugged. "Alright. Come on in."

He turned and headed into the house, leaving the door wide open. I stood there at the step, wondering if I should follow him. On the one hand, bad things tended to happen inside boarded up homes inhabited by weird dudes in leather. On the other hand, as I leaned in to take a gander, the place didn't look particularly threatening. Not only had the door not been locked, but there didn't appear to be any deadbolts with which to lock it, and rather than crack house chic, the home had more of an aging grandmother vibe, with a little too much dust and way too much paisley upholstery.

The guy's voice echoed around a corner. "You coming?"

"Uh… yeah."

I stepped inside and closed the door behind me. Walking cautiously, I followed the guy's trail into a living room. A couple people sat with their backs to me on a couch with a faded sailcloth slipcover, watching reruns of Project Runway on an old cathode ray TV. Meanwhile, Door Guy leaned back in a swivel chair, his shoes propped up on the corner of a huge wooden desk that had been pulled straight from a 1940's private eye movie. It didn't really fit in the living room, but given the size of the house, I'm not sure where it would've.

Door Guy gestured to the chairs in front of his desk. "Go on. Have a seat."

"I'm good standing, thanks. But if you could point me in the direction of Dawn…?"

"Whoops. Sorry." One of the people on the couch stood and turned—a woman with long, straight, raven dark hair and exotic features. She wore a black tank top and faux leather leggings and, I noticed, was freaking hot. Like, unfair hot, the kind who didn't even need to try, with a CoverGirl face and a toned gym body that said she'd never eaten a carb in her life. She skirted the armrest and rested against the back of the couch, her body taut but supple, like a reed ready to crack you over the knuckles. "Lexie, was it? I'm Dawn Blayde. This is Tank by the way—"

The second occupant of the couch, a black guy with a shaved head, leaned back and waved. I couldn't see much of him, but the wave sent a ripple down the bulging muscles in his arm. He looked like he could bench five hundred pounds. I was surprised his shirt fit.

"And you've already met Larry," continued Dawn. "I set up the ad, but he'll conduct the interview. He doesn't type his own posts for… reasons."

"That's right." The guy from the door raised and tipped his hat. "Larry Stuttgart, at your service—or at least that's the name you can call me by."

"The name I can call you by?" I lifted an eyebrow as I took a second look at Dawn and Tank. "Oh god. This is a porn thing, isn't it? I knew I never should've responded. Look, I want nothing to do with this. If you try to coerce me into some disgusting casting call—"

Larry leaned forward in his chair. "Whoa. Slow down. Porn? What the hell are you talking about?"

I gave the guy my fiercest glare. "Seriously? Look at her. And look at him. She's insanely hot, and he's probably packing serious heat down under. You're filming amateur smut in this run-down shack, and you're the disgusting sleazeball with the camera who uploads everything to the internet."

"Disgusting sleazeball?" Larry balked. "I take offense to that. But no. This isn't a porn operation."

"Then why did you introduce yourself that way? You can call me Larry Stuttgart. Like it's an assumed name."

"It's my real name, I assure you—at least part of it. I have a lot of middle names. Hundreds, actually."

I blinked, suddenly caught off guard. "What? Why?"

Larry squinted at me. "Uh… so the demons don't eat my soul. Duh."

I glanced at Dawn. "Huh?"

She shook her head. "We're not in the adult entertainment industry, sis. Though you're right. Tank is packing serious heat. I know from personal experience. Besides, I told you Larry doesn't do computers."

"Why's that?"

Larry snorted. "Let's say electronics don't relish my touch."

"You mean you possess the tech savvy of an eighty-year old?"

"I mean they burst into fiery balls of death if I so much as brush against them."

I rolled my eyes. "Right…"

"Don't believe me?" said Larry. "Give me your cell phone."

"No thanks. I think I'll hold on to it—in case I need to make any emergency calls."

Larry shrugged. "Suit yourself."

"Relax, Lexie," said Dawn. "Nobody's keeping you here against your will. Just have a seat and let Larry conduct the interview." She returned to the couch.

Larry waved to the chairs again. "Well?"

I eyed the seat as if it were made of spiders, but eventually I acquiesced. "Okay, fine. But if you're not running a porn operation, then what are you doing here?"

Larry's brows furrowed and he glanced at the couch. "Dawn? Didn't you put it in the ad?"

"I kept it intentionally vague," she said over her shoulder. "You know. Like you told me to, so it wouldn't interfere with your spell."

"Spell?" I said.

Larry clicked his tongue and peered at me in a less than trustworthy fashion. "Yeah, uh… don't worry about that. It's neither here nor there. The point is it's hard to find good help, which is why you're here, isn't it?"

"The only reason I'm here is because the ad said I could work nights and that the pay is competitive. Also because this place is close to my dorm and because there's a good chance I'll be footing the better part of my own college tuition soon. Other than that, I have no idea why I'm here." All of which was true. I couldn't bear the thought of telling my dad the extra shifts he'd taken on to help support me might not be enough, but beyond the money, I wasn't sure why I'd come. Impulsive I might be, but I'd never answered an online help wanted ad before. Certainly not one leading to a dilapidated bungalow. "What do you need a secretary for anyway?"

"Secretary?" Larry leaned over the desk again. "Dawn, you said we needed a secretary?"

Dawn waved a hand. "Vague, Larry. Vague."

Larry slapped his hat on his desk and ran a hand through his rat's nest of hair. "Okay. Given that Dawn didn't explain things properly online, I guess I'll do the talking. What you're here to interview for isn't a secretarial position. It's more of a junior partnership role. Someone to help us with our more mundane tasks, provide support when necessary, and potentially to offer the odd bit of advice. Oh, and to drive us around to meetings. That was in the ad, right? That you needed to have access to a large vehicle?"

I nodded. "I have a Suburban. So you're looking for a personal assistant and a chauffeur?"

"That's a very narrow-minded way of looking at things," said Larry. "There's much more to this job than that. Besides, I said you could join as a junior partner. There's room for growth. Quite a bit, actually. Rapid advancement, if you show yourself to be as capable as I hope you are."

"So… you're a law firm?"

Larry scoffed. "Law? Please. We're in the confidential consulting business. We also offer retrieval and specialty services. Together, Dawn, Tank, Bill, and I are… The Nyte Patrol. That's with a 'y', not an 'i.'" Larry beamed at me.

The man exuded a strange child-like innocence, which made it all the more odd that he was interviewing me and not Dawn, who'd come across as much more matter of fact. Still, he must've been in charge for a reason. I tried to hide my smirk as I nodded back. "Cool. So who's Bill?"

Larry blinked. "Oh. Right. I should probably introduce him. Bill. Say hello to the young lady."

Larry turned toward the wall and snapped, and that's when I saw it. In a jar on a side table by the wall was what appeared to be a severed human head.

"Oh my GOD." I jumped in my seat. Who the hell had put that there? I would've sworn to the police, God, or anyone who cared to listen that the thing hadn't been there a moment ago.

Larry mistook my surprise for something else. "Don't worry. Bill's harmless—at least while he's in his jar. He must be sleeping. Bill? Bill!" Larry clapped his hands a few times.

The head's eyes fluttered and snapped open. This time I jumped out of my seat. I might've screamed a little, too.

The head stretched his jaw, looked around, and focused his eyes on me. "Hello. What's your name, toots?"

The fear and horror faded quickly, replaced instead with embarrassment and anger. "Okay. Ha Ha. Very funny, assholes. Do you prank everyone who comes to interview this way?" I looked under the end table. It was only a half foot thick, and there was nothing below it. "How are you doing that, anyway? Is he in the wall? Seriously, who the hell does this? I thought this was a job interview, not Candid Camera."

Larry and Bill looked at each other. Bill spoke first. "What's her problem?"

Larry spoke in a low voice, like he thought I wouldn't be able to hear him. "I don't know. She's been jumpy since she got here." Then louder. "Dawn, you put in the ad that we were a supernatural consulting business, didn't you?"

Dawn shrugged, and Larry sighed.

"Supernatural?" I said. "So you consult on, what? Ghost hunting?"

"We've done that before," said Larry. "Not terribly fun if I'm being honest. The spirit realm can be spooky. But yes. We do that, as well as perform a variety of services related to the paranormal, supernatural, occult, and other assorted dark and mystical arts."

"And that's somehow supposed to explain that?" I pointed at Bill. He clacked his teeth at me and made his eyebrows dance, like a douchebag at a club might.

"Well, sure," said Larry. "He's a disembodied zombie head, and I'm a wizard."

"A wizard." I said it slowly. "Which explains the exploding computers and hundreds of middle names, I'm sure."

"Naturally." Larry said it without sarcasm.

"And Dawn? She's what? A succubus?"

"Don't be silly," said Larry. "She's nothing more than a blindingly-hot nymphomaniac who spent her entire youth training in the Philippine martial art of Kali, where she learned the skills necessary to slice and dice vampires and demons into tartare."

"And Tank?"

"Tank's a, uh…" Larry cleared his throat. "Well, we'll get to him later. Suffice to say, he earns his keep."

Tank shot me a thumbs up from over the back of the couch. I glanced from him to the goth bombshell next to him, past them to Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn on the TV, then back to the lunatic in the beat-to-hell leather duster and the creepy head in a jar that kept starting at me like he wanted to get my number.

My head swam. "I'm going to have a seat, if that's okay."

"By all means," said Larry.

I took a few deep breaths to slow my heart. "So let me get this straight. A wizard. A martial artist sword chick whose last name happens to be Blayde. A bodybuilder who does… something. And this thing."

"The name's Bill," said the zombie head when I pointed at him. "And you still haven't introduced yourself."

"Uh… Lexie." I couldn't believe I was talking to a zombie head in a jar.

"I think I understand your confusion," said Larry. "You're trying to figure out what Bill brings to the table."

"Right. Let's go with that."

"You want to take this one, Bill?"

The head shot me a yellow-toothed smile. "I can bite people and turn them into zombies."

"From your jar?"

"Hey, sometimes people try to pet me. I can also be thrown at enemies."

Larry scratched his head. "That's not really where I thought he was going. And don't worry about the biting. He only does that to people he dislikes, and I can tell he's taken a shine to you. No, we keep Bill because he's our navigator."

"And friend?" said Bill. "You forgot friend."

"A navigator?" I said.

Larry nodded. "Yeah. Believe it or not, Bill's about three hundred years old. In life, he sailed the Caribbean from Barbados to Cuba. He's great at telling us how to get places."

"So he's like that head from The Secret of Monkey Island."

Larry blinked. "The what now?"

"Never mind."

The phone rang—not my phone, but the one on the corner of Stuttgart's desk, a black unit with grey buttons that looked as if it came straight out of a late nineties call center. I hadn't noticed it until now, just as I hadn't noticed the presence of Bill until Larry pointed him out, a fact which still freaked me out.

"Well?" Larry stared at me. "Aren't you going to answer it?"